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Family Affair: Uncle Bill, Uncle Bill!


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#31

Albanyguy

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Posted Mar 21, 2012 @ 4:17 PM

Nancy Walker? I missed that. I barely acknowledge the faux Mr. French.

Her character was named Emily and she came in the last season. She used to call Mr. French "Frenchy." You can imagine how much he liked that.


IIRC, she also had a handsome young son whom Cissy dated.

I realize this is heresy, but Johnny Whittaker was a terrible child actor


If that's heresy, they can burn me at the stake. That kid couldn't act his way out of a paper bag. And his sickly-sweet "cute" mugging was nauseating. I remember that he did a few movies for Disney (Tom Sawyer and The Biscuit Eater) and he was equally awful on the big screen.

But, God, I loved that apartment.
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#32

needschocolate

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Posted Mar 21, 2012 @ 4:18 PM

I loved this show as a kid and am enjoying it now. To me, Uncle Bill's hair looks more like a comb-over than a toupee. It looks so thin on top that sometimes I think I can see his scalp. It isn't as full as in the Parent Trap.

Other things I have noticed - French's eyes always look puffy, Uncle Bill slouches a lot, Cissy never walks, she runs everywhere.
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#33

Inquisitionist

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Posted Mar 21, 2012 @ 4:22 PM

Another thing both shows had in common was that both had stars who were also making movies; all the scenes in which they appeared for the entire season were filmed first,

I'd read that about M3S but didn't know it applied to Brian Keith in FA as well. Must be a nightmare when filming with kids. I've read there are M3S episodes with "Dodie's" front teeth missing and then partially (or fully) grown back in the same episode.
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#34

prairiegal

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Posted Mar 21, 2012 @ 5:01 PM

Nice to see some of my LH friends on this thread!
I totally remember that episode when the family went back to Indiana. It's amazing, really, that a little goofy 60's sitcom continued to address the sadness of the kids losing their parents.And it was done with sensitivity and taste.
Anyone remember the three part episode where Buffy and Jody were lost in Mexico? Yes, that's right-3 parts. Bill finally found them asleep in a church.
Too bad Jody's prayers for some acting ability weren't answered.
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#35

dustylil

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Posted Mar 21, 2012 @ 5:03 PM

But Family Affair introduced me to the concept of financially fortunate kids living in the city, and such a parallel universe had never occurred to me before. They didn't go out to play, like the Beav and I did -- adults took them all sorts of places all the time!

Too young for Bachelor Father then?
In that series John Forsythe (Uncle Bentley) was raising his orphaned niece Kelly in Beverly Hills with the help of his servant Peter Tong. Now I was very fond of my mother, but I thought Kelly's life would have made a very pleasant alternative :)
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#36

Luciaphile

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Posted Mar 21, 2012 @ 6:54 PM

Even the series premise itself was dark, as you had three siblings who lost their parents but couldn't remain together in one household until Uncle Bill took them all in.


One thing they did that I really loved was that they made it clear that Buffy and her other uncle were not getting along. It wasn't that they couldn't afford to raise her. It added a serious undertone that I liked. I'm one of those people who only know the show from syndication.

I had watched the show all the way through without having any idea what happened to Anissa Jones. Towards the end of the series, I remember thinking that Jones looked weary and worn out, which is a sad thing to say about a child.
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#37

prairiegal

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Posted Mar 21, 2012 @ 8:34 PM

I like that Buffy wasn't a princess,she was a mouthy, normal little girl."MY NAME IS BUFFY", followed by biting French on the leg.Which he deserved-he called her a "little clot".
Anyone notice that the Mrs Beasley Buffy carried in the first episode was not the Mrs Beasley of later episodes? It was an entirely different doll.Not that I noticed myself...
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#38

HyeChaps

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Posted Mar 21, 2012 @ 9:06 PM

Perhaps they changed the doll to take advantage of the marketing possibilities.

Anyway, I watched this program during its original run. I thought Cissy was the coolest teenager, even moreso than Patty Duke.
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#39

bobbyhill

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Posted Mar 22, 2012 @ 2:00 AM

Anyone remember the three part episode where Buffy and Jody were lost in Mexico?

I seem to remember one part ending with a shot of Buffy and Jody in the window of a bus looking terrified as it pulled away before the adults had boarded.
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#40

espie

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Posted Mar 22, 2012 @ 6:12 AM

Mrs Beasley

If you want to talk heresy, I've always thought Mrs. Beasley was the un-cutest, creepiest doll in the world. She was just this side of being a clown doll. My friend in elementary school had one and I never liked being in the same room with it.
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#41

PattyorSelma

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Posted Mar 22, 2012 @ 6:22 AM

I used to watch this show as I kid but I don't remember any of the story so these 6:30 a.m. eps are all new to me. I wonder if today's quest to find out where babies come from caused a lot of questions from the kid viewers back in the day? I loved Mr. French trying to sell them on the cabbage patch story. I also loved six year old Buffy saying that a baby might freeze if carried by a stork because the air high above the ground is always colder.
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#42

Sarcastico

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Posted Mar 22, 2012 @ 7:57 AM

That kid couldn't act his way out of a paper bag. And his sickly-sweet "cute" mugging was nauseating. I remember that he did a few movies for Disney (Tom Sawyer and The Biscuit Eater) and he was equally awful on the big screen.


I have vivid memories of him in a made-for-TV movie called The Littlest Angel, where he played a Biblical era shepherd who goes to heaven and trains to be an angel. Fred Gwynne and Tony Randall were in it, too. I think that this was a Christmas perennial for a few years before being buried mercifully and never seen again.

There was something of an urban legend when I was in high school (the 1970s) that Kathy Garvin had also died of an overdose. Did anyone else hear that?

And for some reason I can remember the name of the college that Sissy was going to: Ferncliff.

Edited by Sarcastico, Mar 22, 2012 @ 8:09 AM.

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#43

twinmom

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Posted Mar 22, 2012 @ 8:29 AM

Kathy Garver is still alive. Still acting too!
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#44

bobbyhill

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Posted Mar 22, 2012 @ 8:56 AM

I have vivid memories of him in a made-for-TV movie called The Littlest Angel, where he played a Biblical era shepherd who goes to heaven and trains to be an angel. Fred Gwynne and Tony Randall were in it, too. I think that this was a Christmas perennial for a few years before being buried mercifully and never seen again.

I remember that one too. If I died and Fred Gwynne (a.k.a. Herman Munster) was assigned to mentor me, I'd assume I'd gone to hell!

Anyone remember the three part episode where Buffy and Jody were lost in Mexico?

Apparently it was Spain, according to this episode guide. The episode title, "Lost in Spain," naturally makes me think of Lost in Space, which leads me to imagine that show with Buffy & Jody playing Will & Penny and Sebastian Cabot as Dr. Smith. Mr. French and the robot together would be hilarious!

I wonder if today's quest to find out where babies come from caused a lot of questions from the kid viewers back in the day?

I love how Mr. French was so appalled by the very mention of the subject and complained to Uncle Beel that B&J had brought it up "in front of English ladies" [Miss Faversham and someone else]. Mr. French was absolutely determined to squelch any conversation about it. "I don't think we can shut them up," said Uncle Beel, to which Mr. French replied, "We can try, sir."

I noticed that the girl who told them about the stork was played by Pamelyn Ferdin. Good lord, was there any 1960s-70s era show that she wasn't in? Family Affair, The Flying Nun, The Odd Couple, Brady Bunch, Star Trek... not to mention voicing Lucy in the Peanuts specials.

Edited by bobbyhill, Mar 22, 2012 @ 9:04 AM.

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#45

prairiegal

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Posted Mar 22, 2012 @ 10:04 AM

I own the DVD of The Littlest Angel..NOT for the stellar acting/singing skills of Johnny Whittaker, but because of my fond memories of watching that show with my Dad, also I loved Fred Gwynne's performance as Patience, the "Guardian Angel".We can snark on Johnny's caterwauling all day long.

Thanks, bobbyhill, for the clarification of Spain, and not Mexico, where the kids were lost.I recall now that Buffy left Mrs Beasley on a bench, French went back to get the doll, and that's when the bus took off with the kids on board. And the reason I remember this in detail is unclear to me.

Also had Family Affair paper dolls-spent hours dressing and undressing Mr French. Maybe that's why I'm the way I am.

Edited by TWoP Howard, Mar 22, 2012 @ 3:08 PM.
Added line breaks

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#46

Angeltoes

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Posted Mar 22, 2012 @ 10:05 AM

I read an interview with Pamelyn and she said her mother was the ultimate stage mother who did not take kindly to Pamelyn failing at an audition. She herself never had kids but is a huge animal rights activist.
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#47

Runningwild

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Posted Mar 22, 2012 @ 11:57 AM

I liked the musical Tom Sawyer. I don't think JW was that bad. I've seen worse from certain adults on soaps, that's for sure. Or a certain little tinkler on LH.
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#48

kemon

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Posted Mar 22, 2012 @ 12:06 PM

Pamelyn has one of the most annoying voices I have ever heard. It is unique no doubt, but nonetheless annoying. She certainly was all over the place back in the 70's. I remember her role in the Clint Eastwood movie, "The Beguiled".

I never understood why Jody/Johnny pronounced Uncle Bill as "Uncle Beel". Why was it so hard to pronounce "Bill"?
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#49

prairiegal

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Posted Mar 22, 2012 @ 12:15 PM

Tom Sawyer is actually an excellent family musical film. Great cast-Celeste Holm as Aunt Polly! Supporting cast includes Dub Taylor(Houston Lamb for my LH buds) and Lucille Benson(Miss Trimble on LH). Great songs by the Sherman brothers, who, of course, wrote the words and music for Mary Poppins.Johnny Whittaker actually makes a pretty good Tom Sawyer, except for his singing.Filmed on location in Missouri, it's really well done.
I'm not sure why we heard "Uncle Beel" early on, but it was the source of much hilarity and Jody imitations at my house, along with "Mither Fwench".

Wow. Just discovered that Anissa Jones's brother Paul also died from a drug overdose in 1984.Sad.

Edited by prairiegal, Mar 22, 2012 @ 12:19 PM.

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#50

midwestmusician

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Posted Mar 22, 2012 @ 12:31 PM

Towards the end of the series, I remember thinking that Jones looked weary and worn out, which is a sad thing to say about a child.


After 5 years of being a regular in Family Affair, plus spending weekends doing personal appearances and promoting merchandise (including a line of clothing -- I had a Buffy nightgown), poor Anissa Jones was burned out. She was also tired of wearing pigtails and little girl dresses when she was 12 or 13 in real life at the end of the series.

A couple of years after FA ended, Brian Keith was doing another series, and offered a role to AJ; he said she wouldn't even have to audition for the part. But AJ was not interested in doing another TV series.
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#51

prairiegal

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Posted Mar 22, 2012 @ 12:59 PM

Anissa seemed to be a lost soul,reading about her mother makes me think Anissa chose the road she did to escape.Johnny Whittaker, on the other hand, was surrounded by supporting, loving family, and survived.
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#52

Runningwild

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Posted Mar 22, 2012 @ 2:15 PM

Tom Sawyer is actually an excellent family musical film. Great cast-Celeste Holm as Aunt Polly! Supporting cast includes Dub Taylor(Houston Lamb for my LH buds) and Lucille Benson(Miss Trimble on LH). Great songs by the Sherman brothers, who, of course, wrote the words and music for Mary Poppins.Johnny Whittaker actually makes a pretty good Tom Sawyer, except for his singing.

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They weren't on LH, but don't forget Warren Oates as Muff Potter and Jodie Foster as Becky Thatcher. And that had to be the creepiest, scariest Injun Joe I've ever seen. I loved the music, especially the theme song by Charlie Rich. JW definitely had the all-American look. I also watched him in Sigmund and the Sea Monsters on Saturday morning. (Along with Land of the Lost.)
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#53

Luciaphile

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Posted Mar 22, 2012 @ 3:25 PM

Anissa seemed to be a lost soul,reading about her mother makes me think Anissa chose the road she did to escape.Johnny Whittaker, on the other hand, was surrounded by supporting, loving family, and survived.


THIS. It seems like this is usually the way it goes.

Edited by Luciaphile, Mar 22, 2012 @ 3:32 PM.

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#54

needschocolate

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Posted Mar 22, 2012 @ 4:35 PM

I never understood why Jody/Johnny pronounced Uncle Bill as "Uncle Beel". Why was it so hard to pronounce "Bill"?

To me, it sounded like he had trouble pronouncing the letter L. Both my neices and nephew had trouble with their Ls when they were younger and "Bill" sounded the same way JW says it on the show. Difficulty with L and R sounds is very common and even falls under the realm of normal for a six year old (as Jody was supposed to be when the show started) - Speech therapy is not usually recommended unless they are still pronouncing that way at 7 years or older.

I think Anissa/Buffy was a wonderful little actress and Johnny/Jody was not as good, but he wasn't horrible. He wasn't precociously cute like cousin Oliver (blech!)

Edited by needschocolate, Mar 22, 2012 @ 4:36 PM.

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#55

prairiegal

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Posted Mar 22, 2012 @ 5:02 PM

Runningwild, I'll be nitpicky-the Tom Sawyer theme, "River Song" was performed wonderfully by Charley Pride, not Charlie Rich. Had the soundtrack album.Hearing that song today makes me cry for some reason.
I agree, JW wasn't the best TV child actor of the 60's(that title goes to Ron Howard, thank you very much), but he wasn't the most horrible either.

Edited by prairiegal, Mar 22, 2012 @ 5:04 PM.

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#56

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Posted Mar 22, 2012 @ 6:08 PM

I know I've seen episodes of 'Family Affair' since it's original run, but I also know that it's been many, many years. I wish I got a channel that was airing the show. I'd love to see them. All I remember about it is the theme song and the pretty apartment that they lived in. I also remember Mrs. Beasley (and yes, I think she was creepy, too). Does anyone know if episodes are available on DVD?

I remember the theme song the best, because I have an old 45-record of the theme (I picked it up at a yard sale, probably). I don't recall what's on the flip side, I'll have to dig it out. Whenever I play the theme in my head, I remember the swirly kaleidescope-like effect that was shown. Another 45-record that I have that has a 'Family Affair' connection is a copy of 'Lem, the orphan reindeer'. It's one of those 'spoken songs' that Kathy Garver did along with a group of kids. Really cheesy.
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#57

Angeltoes

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Posted Mar 22, 2012 @ 6:49 PM

Johnny Whittaker, on the other hand, was surrounded by supporting, loving family, and survived.
===============================================================================================

He had a rough patch, too, and is a recovering alcoholic/addict. He pulled himself back from the edge and works as a counselor at a treatment center. I saw him on some news entertainment show a few months ago talking about it. He goes out in the streets to offer help to other addicts. He said he doesn't tell people that he's a former child star. Some people recognize him and some people don't. He looks the same to me just with a middle-age gut.

Edited by Angeltoes, Mar 22, 2012 @ 6:51 PM.

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#58

prairiegal

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Posted Mar 22, 2012 @ 8:58 PM

I knew that JW was a recovering addict, and thankfully, his faith and family helped him back from that edge. Anissa's family, not so much.And you're right, he looks much the same. I saw him on a show some time back and he had nothing but praise for Brian Keith and Sebastian Cabot, which made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Edited by prairiegal, Mar 22, 2012 @ 9:06 PM.

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#59

Runningwild

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Posted Mar 22, 2012 @ 9:17 PM

Okay, I'll just give up mentioning songs. I either get the lyrics wrong or the singer wrong.
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#60

oceanblue

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Posted Mar 22, 2012 @ 10:23 PM

Prairiegirl, you owe me a keyboard. Some questions: didn't Mr. French only have one outfit? I picture his closet as a line of identical suits. And, more importantly, what was underneath the paper clothes?
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